Raptors are having one of the best seasons in fr

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  • The Toronto Raptors are having one of the best seasons in franchise history - in a year when nobody expected it. Many believed sneaking into the final playoff spot would be a success for the Raptors this season, but even that wasnt guaranteed. But with only 11 games remaining in the regular season, Toronto (40-31) sits in third place in the Eastern Conference, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for tops in the Atlantic Division and a postseason spot all but official. This will be the first time since 2008 that the Raptors will play in the NBAs second season. With all of the good fortunes the Dinos have seen this year, who has been most integral to the teams success? DeMar DeRozan is the face of the franchise and is one of the longest tenured members of the Raptors. The 24-year-old made his first All-Star Game this season and is leading the team in points scoring 22.7 per game. This is DeRozans fifth year in the Association and he signed a four-year deal last season to stay north of the border for the foreseeable future. Will the team only go as far as DeMar will take them? Kyle Lowry has quickly become a fan favourite in only his second season in Raptors colours. The rugged point guard has shown bulldog-like toughness on a nightly basis, playing considerable minutes and being the man the team has looked to when they are in need of a spark. Analysts and fans alike thought the 28-year-old should have been in New Orleans for the All-Star Game. Averaging 17.6 PPG (scoring over 20 points in eight consecutive games) along with 7.7 assists per game makes a good case for that argument. His future is uncertain in Toronto with Lowry hitting the free agent market this summer, but the Raptors are glad to have him for the time being. Is he the one to thank? Then theres Amir Johnson. At only 26, he can be considered a veteran, already playing in his ninth NBA season and is an important part of the Raps front court. He averages 11.1 PPG, 6.9 rebounds per game and is a strong force on the defensive side of the ball. Maybe the key success is coming from the sidelines. Head coach Dwane Casey is in his second year in charge of the Raptors and seems to have finally gotten through to his players. Toronto has gotten much better defensively only allowing 97.6 PPG, good enough for fifth in the NBA. Is the coachs defence-first mindset the reason the Raptors are headed to the post-season? The success could be attributed to General Manager Masai Ujiri. The Nigerian hasnt brought in a lot of highly touted talent since he took the job last off-season. Instead hes used the method of addition by subtraction to improve on the court. First, he shipped the much-maligned Andrea Bargnani off to the New York Knicks followed by sending Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings during the season. Toronto is 34-19 since Gay was traded out west. With the offence no longer going through Gay, the Raptors have been able to score more efficiently. Not to mention the players coming back to Toronto - namely Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez – have helped the Raptors to get where they are today. Do we have to look to the front office for the reason behind the sudden improvement? So, who do you think is the most integral to the Raptors success this season? As always, its Your! Call. Tommy McDonald Youth Jersey . SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. Carson Wentz Eagles Jersey . -- Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera has a broken bone below his right eye after being struck by a bad-hop grounder, sidelining the star slugger for at least a week with opening day on deck. http://www.eaglesrookiestore.com/ .com) - The San Antonio Spurs will try to even their series with the Dallas Mavericks Monday night when the two teams collide at American Airlines Arena for Game 4. Brian Dawkins Jersey . Prado stuck his glove down with Colorados Charlie Blackmon sliding into the bag, and quickly jumped back in pain after applying the tag. Prado held his left wrist as trainers came out of the Diamondbacks dugout to check him. Nick Foles Youth Jersey . At quarterback, all agree that Andy Dalton has been a wonderful surprise, but to truly progress he has to play his best in the playoffs. The two losses in the wildcard rounds keep the evaluation on Dalton open -- just like it did for Peyton Manning many years ago and Matt Ryan until last year.MOOSE JAW, Sask. -- Martin-Olivier Cardinal had a goal and an assist and the Grenadiers de Chateauguay used a three-goal third period to defeat the Moose Jaw Generals 4-2 on Friday in preliminary-round action at the Telus Cup midget hockey championship. Alexandre Desgagnes, Brandon McCulloch and Mikael Sabourin all scored in the third for the Grenadiers (1-1-2), who trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. Etienne Montpetit stopped 28 shots for the win. Braydon Delorme and Regan Nagy supplied the scoring for the Generals (0-2-2). Moose Jaws Grant Naherniak kicked out 24-of-29 shots for Moose Jaw. In other preliminary play, Lane Michasiw stopped 17 shots for the shutout as the Prince Albert Mintos beat the Halifax McDonalds 3-0. Kody White, Teal Sobkowicz aand Jared Blaquiere had the goals for the Mintos (3-0-2).dddddddddddd Justin Ritcey made 26 saves for Halifax (1-3-1). Earlier in the day, Jake Kryski, Tanner Campbell, Tyson Jost and Carter Hikichi all scored two goals as the Okanagan Rockets defeated the Toronto Young Nationals 11-2 Linden Hora, Branden Wagner and Liam Finley had the other goals for the Rockets (1-1-3). Maxwell Routledge had both goals for the Young Nationals (3-2-0). Brendan Barry made 28 saves for Okanagan. Oliver Jacobs allowed five goals on 32 shots before giving way to Izzy Benigno, who stopped just 14-of-20 shots in 22 minutes of relief for Toronto. Prince Albert, Toronto, Okanagan and Chateauguay all advance to the semifinal, which will take place on Saturday. ' ' '
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